One of the Academy's missions is to promote scientific culture. To this end, it has installed full museums in two of its cultural foundations.
Louis Pasteur's House at Arbois (Jura)
Louis Pasteur (1822 1895) was elected Member of the Académie des sciences in 1862 and became Perpetual Secretary between 1887 and 1889. Many of Louis Pasteur's experimental findings were presented to the Academy in session: his first research work in crystallography, his work on fermentation processes, on wines and associate ailments, then his work on microbiology identifying pathogenic bacteria and the process of elaborating vaccines, and, lastly his work on rabies.
The Pasteur's family home, at Arbois in the Jura region, is a typical bourgeois house dated end 19th Century which also served as Louis' laboratory for summer recesses and where all his laboratory equipment is preserved. It was at Arbois that he carried out the milestone experiments enabling him to satisfactorily explain the theory of so-called 'spontaneous' generation and other experiments on the vinification process.
In 1992, the association called 'Friends of Pasteur' donated the Arbois home-museum to the Academy. Extensive building renovation and interior restoration work was launched in 1994, through a competitive selection process organised by the departmental (Franche-Comté) authorities in charge of Cultural Affairs. Various forms of animation, open days-nights, experimental sessions on taste, etc. are organised, enhancing the interest of visiting the site at any time of the year.
The Antoine d'Abbadie Château-Observatory, Hendaye (Pays Basque - Pyrenées Orientales)
Antoine d'Abbadie (1810-1897) was an explorer, a geographer, a linguist and an astronomer, an ardent defender of the Basque language and a benefactor for Basque culture. He became Member of the Academy in 1867 and was elected President in 1892; he bequeathed his castle and estate (near Hendaye) to the Academy. He had earlier made a donation to the Academy to finance astronomy studies for the Observatory he has built in his Château. When the Observatory finally closed (as a scientific establishment) in 1976, the Academy created the Antoine d'Abaddie Prize for Astronomy.
The Antoine d'Abaddie Château positioned on the cliff-tops overlooking Hendaye Beach, was built according to neo-gothic styling rules between 1864 and 1879, by architects Viollet-le-Duc and Edmond Duthoit. The Château, today classified as a national monument, underwent an extensive programme of restoration in 1997-2008, with the support of Regional authorities for Cultural Affairs of the Aquitaine Region and the department of Pyrenees-Orientales, the Rhône-Poulenc Foundation/Institut de France and by a sponsor-benefactor. Several partnerships have been signed with various teaching establishments and cultural associations, underscoring the pedagogical calling of the Museum.